x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Wife of former Nakheel employee 'overwhelmed' by his acquittal

'We are looking forward to seeing our families again and restarting our lives,' said Julie Lee, the wife of former Nakheel employee Marcus Lee who was today cleared of charges related to a Dh44 million collapsed property deal.

DUBAI// A man accused of trying to pocket Dh44 million by fraudulently selling a piece of Nakheel's Dubai Waterfront project has today been acquitted - after spending more than four years under house arrest.

Marcus Lee has been detained in Dubai since 2009.

His wife Julie, who had to surrender her passport to secure her husbands' bail, spoke after the acquittal saying they were delighted with the news.

"We are overwhelmed with this finding," they said in a joint statement. "It has been more than four years since this commenced and we are very grateful that the courts have uncovered the truth and we can now move forward.

"It has been personally a very difficult period in our lives, particularly being away from our families in Australia who have also suffered personally and financially.

"We are looking forward to seeing our families again and restarting our lives. We thank all those who have supported us and believed in us."

Mr Lee was one of two former Nakheel employees who were being sued by the Gold Coast property developer, Sunland Group, over the collapsed Dubai Waterfront property deal.

He and fellow Australian, Matthew Joyce, were arrested in Dubai in January 2009 and charged with abuse of public funds, fraud, breach of trust and acquiring illegal profits and commissions.

They spent nine months in jail before being placed under house arrest in October 2009.

However, after more than 40 hearings before Dubai Criminal Court, Mr Lee was this morning cleared of all charges.

"We are delighted with this decision, as it is the right and just decision," said Ali Al Shamsi of Dubai Lawyers, Al Shamsi and Partners, who represented Marcus Lee in Dubai.

"There was no evidence ever of any wrongdoing by Marcus as he was simply doing his job and as instructed by his employer, Nakheel. I just want Marcus and his wife Julie to be able to be happy again and for Marcus to be able to return to work".

There is a 15-day appeals period process.



* Additional reporting by Salam Al Amir